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Sage/Sorcerer Leveling: 10-20 Healing

01 Mar

For the first 10 levels of playing a Sage/Sorc healer, you’re no different than any other Consular/Inquisitor out there, so I’m going to refer you to my 1-20 DPS Guide for information about how to level and what spells you get during the 1-10 range if you feel you need it.

This guide is aimed specifically at leveling as a healer which takes place from level 10 on, so that’s where this guide is going to start. I will be discussing how to deal damage in the healing spec, and how to go about questing and so forth, I’m just going to assume that you’re already at least level 10 for the purpose of this specific guide.

Playing a Consular Seer/Inquisitor Corrupter
Playing a healer isn’t all that much different than playing as a non-healer. You’ll still cast similar spells while you’re solo questing, and overall you’ll notice very little difference. The only real difference is that your talent points are going to help you better survive and better keep your companions alive as opposed to making you deal more damage. So instead of killing a group of mobs in 10 seconds, might take you 12-14 seconds instead.

Once you step out of the realm of solo play and into grouping your experience will change a bit because your primary focus shifts towards keeping everyone in your group alive rather than trying to kill things. That’s not to say you can’t help them kill the mobs you’re facing, which you should do if there’s no need for your heals, you just have a change in priority.

The key to healing is understanding your resources and the taxation on them. As a Sage your resource is called Force, and you have a total of 500. A talent exists in one of the damaging trees that will increase your total to 550 for one point or 600 with two points, but otherwise there is no way to increase your resources beyond 500. Your spells will range in cost from 20 Force to 65 Force (at this level range), and you regenerate Force at a rate of 8 Force per second. If math really isn’t your thing, don’t worry about it, but if you like to know the numbers behind the class then there’s your starting point.

In order to heal effectively you need to know how much healing each of your spells is capable of, how much Force they cost to cast, and how much time it takes to cast them. Those three things are what determines how useful each individual spell actually is. I’ll get to that in just a moment, but first let’s take a look at what spells you have.

Important Spells & Abilities
This list is only going to include the spells that particularly important for your healing. As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, as I’ve already covered DPS leveling you can refer to that post if you would like information regarding rotations and which spells to use when and how. So this list will include your heals, obviously, but also spells that can perform a specific function for you while healing that’s important for leveling as a spec that has no damage buffs.

Benevolence/Dark Heal (10): Heals a friendly target. (fast cast, small heal)
Deliverance/Dark Infusion (12): Heals a friendly target. (long cast, big heal)
Force Armor/Static Barrier (14): Surrounds the target in a Force shield that absorbs a high amount of damage and lasts 30 seconds. Protected targets become Force-Imbalanced and cannot benefit from Force Armor again for 20 seconds.
Mind Crush/Crushing Darkness (14): Crushes the target’s mind with the Force, instantly dealing kinetic damage and additional kinetic damage over 6 seconds.
Weaken Mind/Affliction (16): Weakens the target’s mind, dealing internal damage over 15 seconds.
Force Speed/Force Speed (16): Increases your movement speed by 150% for 2 seconds. Does not break stealth.
Mind Snap/Jolt (18): Interrupts the target’s current action and prevents that ability from being used for 4 seconds.
Noble Sacrifice/Consumption (20): Sacrifices 15% of your maximum health to restore 8% of your maximum Force. Each time this ability is used, your Force regeneration rate is reduced by 25% for the next 10 seconds. Stacks up to 4 times.
Rejuvenate/Resurgence (Lv 20 Talent): Immediately heals the target for an amount, plus an additional amount over 9 seconds.

Healing Spells
Benevolence is the first heal you receive, and one of the worst heals you’ll ever have. That’s not to say it doesn’t have its uses, but it’s not one that you’ll cast with any amount of frequency once you get another option. This spell costs 50 Force, has a 1.5 second cast time, no cooldown, and heals for a fairly small amount.

Deliverance is your bread and butter healing spell. It costs 55 Force, has a default cast time of 3 seconds (2.5 w/ talents), no cooldown, and heals for a significant amount. For 5 more Force and one extra second worth of cast time, this spell will heal for roughly twice as much as Benevolence, which is why it’s so much better. Soon after level 20 you’ll also get another talent to help with that cast time to make it even better.

Force Armor is a “bubble” which means it absorbs damage that the target would have taken until it reaches its limit and is then removed. This spell has your highest base cost at 65 Force (35 Force with higher level talents), an instant cast time, a default 4.5 second cooldown (1.5 seconds with later talents), and absorbs a “high” amount of damage. Force Armor is also unique in that it applies a debuff to the target that makes them immune to Force Armor for 20 seconds so it prevents you from spamming bubbles on a single target over and over.

Rejuvenate is a healing spell that also contains a heal over time (HoT) effect to it, and it will soon become the single-most important spell because of how other talents interact with it (I’ll get to the details in the 20-40 guide). Rejuvenate costs 30 Force, has an instant cast time, a 6 second cooldown, and heals for a decent amount.

Utility Spells
Mind Crush and Weaken Mind belong in the same listing here because of what they are – damage over time (DoT) spells. As a healer, you’re lacking a lot of the killing power that other specs have, but DoT’s allow you to deal damage to several targets at once without having to waste time casting the damage spells which allows you to spend cast time on your heals instead. If you find yourself facing tough enemies, one of your best tactics as a healer is to cast your DoT’s on them and then start running away and stopping only to heal yourself or reapply your DoT’s. This tactic is called “kiting” and I can go into more detail in a later post if anyone needs me to.

When DoT kiting you don’t want to run away in a straight line, you want to run in circles and abuse terrain and structures to keep distance between you so that they can’t hit you with melee attack, and break their line of sight so that they can’t use ranged attacks on you either. When your DoT’s wear off, simply reapply them and then take off running again.

Mind Snap is an interrupt spell, used to cancel a spell that’s being cast by an enemy. I mention this first because as a 30 meter ranged interrupt it’s one of the best in the game so you should be familiar with it, and second because one of the best ways heal damage is to not let it happen in the first place. If an enemy is casting a spell that you know is going to deal high damage or they’re casting a crowd control spell on you, your companion or a party member then you can use this to stop the spell from happening and preventing it from being cast again for 4 seconds. Experience will teach you which spells are worth interrupting and which you can ignore.

Force Speed increases your speed by 150% for 2 seconds (which is 40% faster than the fastest mount in the game right now, btw). There are countless ways that this spell is useful, but the main reason I wanted to mention it is for the same reason that I mentioned the DoT spells and Mind Snap up above – it’s fantastic for kiting, and getting out of your enemies’ attack range is a great way to prevent damage from happening to you in the first place. It’s also good for group play if you have members of your party/raid that have moved out of your healing range so that you can quickly reposition yourself to be able to reach whoever is in need of a heal.

Noble Sacrifice is a spell you definitely need to be aware of. Casting it sacrifices 15% of your health in order to restore 8% of your Force. At this level, casting this spell is a bad idea unless you absolutely NEED the Force it gives you. As you get higher in level you’ll get talents that reduce the amount of health you have to sacrifice as well as a proc that removes the health sacrifice all together. So keep it in mind and remember it’s there to be used, but be cautious for right now of casting it without a literal need. It’s also important to note that casting this applies a 10 second debuff on yourself that reduces your Force regeneration by 25%, and this debuff stacks up to 4 times which means a full stack will completely remove your Force regeneration for 10 seconds.

If you need the Force to keep people alive, then by all means use this. Also, if you’re not taking any damage at all and not in any threat of taking damage, then go ahead and use it. Keeping people alive is your job, and if sacrificing some of your health in order to heal someone else is required then so be it. Just keep in mind that if you die because of using this then nobody is getting heals regardless.

Leveling a Consular Seer/Inquisitor Corrupter
This is the section where I normally like to talk about rotations and such, but healing doesn’t have an actual rotation so I’ll discuss how to heal in just a moment. I’ll go ahead and talk about your damage rotation while you’re questing, but first I want to address something that’s bothered me about so many other guides I’ve seen out there for people talking about leveling this class.

Time and time again I see Sage/Sorc guides say that you should start every build, no matter which tree you’re going to spec into, with your first 5 points spent in Inner Strength/Electric Induction (9% Force cost reduction) and Mental Longevity/Reserves (+100 total Force). I’m here to tell you right now that with the exception of a full Telekinetics/Lightning build I have never put any of my first 5 points into either of those two talents, and I’ve leveled just fine.

I’m not saying that it’s a bad idea for you to put some points in there early on, but I am saying that it’s unnecessary. If you find that you’re constantly running out of Force then the first thing you should do is evaluate which spells you’re casting and whether or not their effect is worth the Force cost to see if maybe you’re not casting the right spells. If everything looks good there, then you may want to consider putting points into those talents to alleviate some of that Force cost.

For example, as a healer you do not want to use Project/Shock in your rotation because it’s damage compared to its Force cost make it a total waste if used for anything other than finishing off a mob that’s close to dying. It’s just like Benevolence/Dark Heal, the cost is just too high for what you get out of it.

Sage Weak Mobs: Disturbance, Telekinetic Throw, Disturbance x2, Telekinetic Throw
Sorc Weak Mobs: Lightning Strike, Force Lightning, Lightning Strike x2, Force Lightning

This is a simple rotation for taking out the weak mobs. Pull with a cast time spell, follow it with a channel, two more cast times while the channel’s cooldown finishes, then fire it off. You can use Project/Shock here to finish off mobs that are low on health, or you can use Force Wave/Overload to deal AoE damage instead. Some healers also like to keep Saber Strike on their bars since it’s free damage and also regenerates a small amount of Force, and use it as their finishing move instead.

Sage Strong+ Mobs: Force Lift, Mind Crush, Weaken Mind, Telekinetic Throw, Disturbance x2, Telekinetic Throw
Sorc Strong+ Mobs: Whirlwind, Crushing Darkness, Affliction, Force Lightning, Lightning Strike x2, Force Lightning

These rotations differ from the others only in the spells that you’re going to start combat with. You want to start by using your 60 second crowd control spell on the toughest target out there to remove them from the equation. Follow that up with Mind Crush/Crushing Darkness and Weaken Mind/Affliction both on the second-toughest target, and then fall into your default rotation. The reason why we start this round with Telek. Throw/Force Lightning instead of Disturbance/Lightning Strike is because we’re already in combat and can’t take advantage of having Dist/LS’s cast time combat-free, so instead we go for instant damage with our channeled spell and then use the cast-time spells while the other is on cooldown.

If you’re solo questing, then it’s also a good idea to cast Force Armor/Static Barrier on yourself and/or your companion before combat begins so that you can focus on the damaging spells once the fight starts instead of having to jump straight into healer mode where you’re dealing no damage at all.

If you have your bubble’s debuff active and you’re taking some damage, then Rejuvenate/Resurgence is your next best bet for keeping yourself healthy while still focusing primarily on damage to kill the mobs. If you need more healing than that, then of course it’s perfectly fine for you to actually cast your healing spells as needed.

Also, always keep in mind that you have some fantastic crowd control spells at your disposal. Force Stun/Electrocute is a nice stun that will give you time to cast a couple of heals freely, Force Wave/Overload is an AoE knockback that can buy you a little time for healing or to run away, and Force Lift/Whirlwind has a cast time on it but it does remove the target from combat completely for up to a minute. And if all else fails, hit your Force Speed and run away until you can either heal safely or the mobs drop combat and reset.

How to Heal With a Consular Seer/Inquisitor Corrupter
Healing doesn’t have a rotation at all because here’s no consistency in when someone is going to take damage or how much they’re going to take. There is sort of a priority system, but it doesn’t actually come into effect in this level range, so what I’m going to do is explain how and when to use each of your healing spells and a couple of different situations and how you might handle them.

Benevolence/Dark Heal
This spell has an incredibly high Force cost compared to how little it actually heals you for. It’s only real benefit is that it has a short cast time, so it can give you a little boost in an emergency when other spells are not available. For this level range, you want to avoid using this spell whenever possible. If you absolutely have to have a heal in the next 1.5 seconds and your bubble isn’t available to be cast on the target, then go ahead and use this spell.

After a few more levels you can use this to top people off when you get a proc that cuts its Force cost in half, so it will eventually be useful for topping people off when you have nothing else to do. Until you get those talents (in the 20-40 range), your main use for this spell is to pad someone’s health who has taken a lot of damage really fast but you’re unable to use your bubble on them, so hopefully a quick heal will provide enough of a buffer that they can take one more hit while you switch to casting Deliverance/Dark Infusion or while your bubble cooldown or debuff clears to allow the bubble to provide a barrier for those larger heals.

Deliverance/Dark Infusion
This is your main heal now and forever, so you want to get real familiar with this one. It has a 2.5 second cast time after talents, so it’s a little bit slow. Because of that, you’ll want to get a feel for how long that 2.5 seconds really is so that you can judge, based on how quickly your target is taking damage, whether you have time to cast this or if you need to sneak a bubble or other healing spell in first.

In terms of a default rotation, it’s good to be in the habit of casting Rejuvenate/Resurgence before Deliverance/Dark Infusion because of other talents you’ll receive shortly after level 20.

Force Armor/Static Barrier
Since bubbles prevent damage from happening at all rather than simply restoring lost health, it is the most effective method of healing out there. Because of that you want to make sure you’re making frequent use of this spell when targets really are taking the damage to warrant its use. It does have the highest Force cost you’ll see until you get your level 40 talent, but it’s a great tool.

There are three ways that you want to utilize this. First, to prevent damage from happening in the first place which gives you time to regen your Force and gives you time for a breather or to reevaluate the situation if needed. Second, it gives you a buffer for your HoT spell to give its full healing to the target because while they’re pseudo-immune to damage the HoT gets to tick away freely. Third, it acts as a buffer to allow you the time to cast a bigger heal (Deliverance) without the target taking more damage during your cast time.

The two things to keep in mind about this spell are its debuff, which prevents the target from having the bubble cast on them again for 20 seconds, and its Force cost. Because it’s the highest cost you have, you don’t want to cast this on people who aren’t going to take enough damage to make it worth the cost. You can spam bubbles on your whole party if you really want to, but if three of your four party members never take any damage then all you’ve really accomplished is wasting 195 Force.

Rejuvenate/Resurgence
This spell is good right now for a couple of reasons. First, it provides an instant healing effect with an instant cast time, which is great even if the healed amount is low. Second, it provides a heal over time effect which acts similar to a bubble in that sometimes the HoT tick will fall right after damage is taken and it basically works out as though the damage had never occurred.

Having that HoT effect bringing a constant stream of healing in also gives you more time to cast other, bigger heals that have a longer cast time. Waiting on a 2.5 second Deliverance cast isn’t quite so bad when you’ve got a HoT ticking away that’s keeping your target somewhat more stable (hopefully) while the cast time is taking place.

Situation Examples
Now we’ll look at a couple of example situations and how you should go about using your spells to handle the situation. Keep in mind that the following information is applicable only for healers up to level 20 as talents from 21+ will significantly impact how you heal.

Minimum Damage: Target at 70%+
When your target still has most of their health you don’t need to be too worried just yet, so start off with Deliverance/Dark Infusion, followed by Rejuvenate/Resurgence. This will provide a nice, big heal at the front followed by a HoT that will either help top them off or provide some buffer to keep them nearer to their full health. If Rejuv/Resurg is on cooldown, then use your bubble after your big heal instead.

Moderate Damage: Target at 30%-70%
When your target has taken some pretty big hits you need to be more aggressive in your healing to prevent them from getting to a critical level. Start with Rejuvenate/Resurgence followed by Deliverance/Dark Infusion and follow it up with Force Armor/Static Barrier, and if necessary follow with another Deliverance/Dark Infusion.

High Damage: Target below 30%
If someone is in critical condition and desperately needs healing to prevent them from dying, then it’s time to get serious. Your first priority in this cast is Force Armor/Static Barrier if they don’t have the debuff to prevent it, followed by Rejuvenate/Resurgence and Deliverance/Dark Infusion once or twice to bring them to a more stable level.

If your target does have the Force Imbalance/Deionized debuff on them that prevents your bubble from being cast, you might consider (very carefully) casting Benevolence/Dark Heal first if the debuff is about to wear off of them within the next 2 seconds. If it’s going to be more than 2 seconds before the debuff is gone then you should skip them both and go for Rejuv/Resurg followed by Del/DI casts to get them back up to a reasonable level until you can bubble them again to buy yourself some more time.

At this level range you don’t have a whole lot in the way of emergency healing tools, so your goal is to keep people right around that 70% or higher range. You don’t need to keep people at 100% health at all times, and your Force pool won’t allow you to do that very often anyway. Everyone has a free non-combat ability that refills their health and resource bar, so there’s no reason you should feel a need to top them off when your real job is to keep them alive during combat and they can freely top off themselves after the fighting is over.

Talent Spec: 20 Seer/Corruption Tree

Sage: Seer Sorcerer: Corruption
Torhead: Seer Torhead: Corruption

I’ve listed these in priority level based on what level they become available to you. So the first two are tier 1, the second two are tier 2 and so forth. Immutable Force is the more important talent in tier 1, but it benefits a spell that you don’t get until level 12, meaning that if you spend your first 2 points on it then you have a talent that currently gives you no benefit. So if you want to get all technical about spending points then you want 1 point in Penetrating Light followed by 2 in Immutable Force and then then 2 more in Penetrating light.

Immutable Force/Dark Mending 2/2: Reduces the activation time of Deliverance/Dark Infusion by 0.5 seconds.
Penetrating Light/Seeping Darkness 3/3: Increase your Force critical chance by 3%.
Foresight/Lucidity 3/3: Reduces the pushback suffered while activating healing abilities by 75% and lowers the threat generated by healing abilities by 15%.
Pain Barrier/Empty Body 2/2: Increases all healing received by 8%.
Rejuvenate/Resurgence 1/1: [Instant cast, 6 second cooldown] Immediately heals a target for an initial amount, plus an additional healing over 9 seconds.

Immutable Force is absolutely critical for a healer because it reduces the cast time of your primary healing spell by 0.5 seconds. That might not sound like a whole lot, but with how much you’re going to cast that spell it’s a BIG FREAKING DEAL, trust me. Penetrating Light increases your crit chance, making your heals more likely to crit thus saving you Force in the long term by not needing to cast so many healing spells among other things.

Foresight is important in pretty much any situation. While solo or in PvP you get the benefit of reduced pushback on your heals, while solo questing you also benefit from reduced threat for when you’re letting your companion take all the hits, and in group play you’re reducing your threat generation so that mobs keep hitting your tank rather than destroying your expensive robes. Pain Barrier is all about your own survivability by increasing the healing that you receive. The role of a healer is almost as critical as it comes, so keeping you alive is always a good thing.

Rejuvenate is your heal over time, or HoT, spell. It works very similar to WoW’s Regrowth spell by providing an initial heal when you first cast it, plus a heal over time effect afterwards. At level 20 this is just another nifty little heal for you to use that takes some of the stress off of you thanks to the heal, but in a couple more levels it’s going to be the keystone to everything you do.

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One response to “Sage/Sorcerer Leveling: 10-20 Healing

  1. Emmitt Luedtke

    March 13, 2012 at 7:48 AM

    My brother suggested I might like this web site. He was totally right. This post actually made my day. You can not imagine just how much time I had spent for this information! Thanks!

     

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